This year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs between 22nd to 28th of this month. It comes amid concerns that the pandemic might have compounded the problem of eating disorders. With increased isolation that has characterized the past year, eating disorder patients who have co-occurring conditions like depression may have experienced worsening symptoms. The pandemic also came with significant uncertainties. Patients with anxiety disorders may have been affected more than the rest of the population.
The Role of Social Media in Eating Disorders
Another reason for increased symptoms is social media. Being away from school and work meant that people had more time on their hands, which they spent mostly on social platforms.
Social media has always been a major eating disorder trigger, even before the pandemic. It’s tempting to compare oneself with the idealized versions of life online. The reality? People often post their perfect moments, using edited and manipulated images. But as much as we know this, sometimes the temptation of comparing your life with others is too compelling to ignore. This is even more difficult for people with self-image issues.
As such, patients with eating disorders have been having a hard time dealing with all this. Staying at home means that people are less active, which heightens the likelihood of adding weight. This may have compounded the struggles for patients already managing eating disorders.
Reverse Role of Social Media in 2021 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
This year’s NEDAwareness week has seen major social platforms – Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest throw their weight behind the campaign. In appreciation of the role social media play in altering people’s mindsets on their image and sending them on the path of unhealthy habits, they’re moving in to sensitize people to seek help and directing them to useful resources.
For instance, Pinterest has partnered with NEDA to create awareness of eating disorders using story pins. Additionally, they’re providing links to educational and support resources. The pins encourage people to speak up about their own experiences and get others to do the same.
Instagram and TikTok are also offering useful resources, including tips, guides, and links to contacts for further help. This is a great move, which will go a long way in creating awareness and altering society’s distorted mindset on body image.
Eating Disorders Is a Universal Challenge
Eating disorders are a global challenge that affects about 9% of the population. That’s a significant health concern, especially considering how fatal some of the conditions, like anorexia nervosa, can be.
Even though the onset of eating disorders is mostly between the ages of 18 and 21, when young people start having body image issues, this condition can affect anyone regardless of their age or size. The presence of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc., also heightens the chances of developing eating disorders. For instance, autism co-occurs in 20-30% of adults with an eating disorder.
Studies have also shown that the genetic heritability risk factor of eating disorders is between 28-74%. This affirms that anyone is at the risk of developing an eating disorder.
What Can Fairwinds Treatment Center Do for You?
As different stakeholders join NEDA in creating awareness, spreading hope, and providing crucial resources to eating disorder patients, we would like to let you know that our doors are open for you. We are committed to holding your hand as you embark on your eating disorder recovery journey.
We offer a comprehensive solution including diagnosis, screening for co-occurring problems, treatment, family therapy sessions, and much more. Once a patient checks in with us, we give them individualized treatment through our in-patient, intensive out-patient, or out-patient programs.
Eating disorders are deadly, but Fairwinds Treatment Center is here to help. Should you want to discuss treatment for yourself or your loved one, talk to us today.